Chemical and Biochemical EngineeringWestern Engineering

Program Overview

Coursework based Master’s Degree (MEng):

This is an attractive degree for students wanting to deepen their understanding of engineering fundamentals and obtain a graduate degree that gives them a competitive edge, but who do not want to spend two years doing coursework, research, and a thesis. Since only coursework is required, the MEng can be completed within one year starting from an undergraduate degree. This is also an attractive degree for students who want to become chemical engineers but have an undergraduate degree in another discipline and provides an opportunity to new Immigrants and Canadians who are trained in engineering outside Canada (i.e. Internationally Trained Engineers (ITE)) with a venue to update their knowledge in accordance with the needs of the Canadian technology sector. This degree provides practicing engineers an opportunity to upgrade their technical knowledge to meet the demands for technological advancements in their fields. The dominant method used to achieve these goals is through course-work instruction where research training is achieved through independent projects and reports associated with the courses. Interested students have an opportunity to work on more significant projects (whose weight is equal to two half-courses) for training in one particular area under the direction of the project supervisor.

Students take either a minimum of 10 half-courses or minimum of 8 half-courses plus a project equivalent of two half-courses. Students must take three graduate core (essential) courses in the respective fields and five to seven additional graduate technical elective (Breadth /Depth/Skill) courses that allow them to complement the core knowledge. These electives are essentially free electives so the student can study additional topics in engineering and alternative topics in science, medical science, business, etc. In order to cultivate a strong research culture among graduate students, students are expected to attend at least 70% of the weekly seminars during their stay in the program. Participation in seminars is an integral part of graduate study as it helps to enhance knowledge, broaden research outlook, sharpens thinking and improves communication skills. Thus, the MEng graduate makes use of a deeper and more flexible toolkit of knowledge when confronted with engineering problems.

Research based Master’s Degree (MESc):

The objective of this program of study is to provide students with advanced training in chemical and biochemical engineering and prepare them to function in a professional research environment. The degree signifies that the student has learned the fundamental principles of chemical and biochemical engineering and has completed a research project requiring both significant independent work under the supervision of a Thesis Advisor and production of an extended written description of it. This objective is achieved in the four (4) “half” graduate level courses, through specialist training by the thesis supervisor, by attendance at research seminars and through their preparation of the master’s thesis. Participation of the students in undergraduate teaching adds further strength where applicable. The thesis research begins with the selection of a research topic and faculty mentor. The student and mentor jointly devise an experimental and/or theoretical plan of study to generate new knowledge in the topic area. This knowledge is summarized in a written form, the thesis. MESc candidates are expected to complete the program within 2 years. In order to cultivate a strong research culture among graduate students, students are expected to attend at least 70% of the weekly seminars during their stay in the program. Participation in seminars is an integral part of graduate study as it helps to enhance knowledge, broaden research outlook, sharpens thinking and improves communication skills. The experience paves the way for entrance into industry or into graduate school for doctoral studies.

Research based Accelerated Masters Degree (MESc)

The Accelerated Master’s degree option provides qualified undergraduate students the opportunity to complete MESc degree in just one year beyond the bachelor’s degree. The curriculum and degree requirements for this program are the same as for the standard two-year MESc degree. Interested students during their 3rd year enrolment in undergraduate Chemical Engineering program at Western can apply for the Accelerated Master’s degree. In the 4th year of undergraduate study, students are permitted to take graduate courses in lieu of technical electives which simultaneously satisfy some remaining requirements for the bachelor’s degree and the beginning requirements of the Master’s degree. After receiving their bachelor’s degree, students move directly into the graduate program where they finish their remaining year of study for the MESc.

Doctoral Degree:

The PhD degree is the highest academic degree preparing students to become an independent researcher with the ability to apply chemical and biochemical engineering principles as well as advanced analytical and experimental techniques to the solution of large-scope open-ended research problems. The education and training prepare students for academic, industrial, highly specialized technical consulting and governmental research careers. The cornerstone of a PhD education is the development of a research-based thesis. The thesis research begins with the selection of a research field and faculty mentor, the Thesis Advisor. The mentor guides the student's development of an experimental and/or theoretical plan of study to advance the state of the art in the selected topic area.

Graduates are expected to assemble an unparalleled body of knowledge, to develop leading edge expertise in one specific sub discipline and to demonstrate the ability to conduct an independent research investigation. At that point, the student summarizes the knowledge generated through his/her research program in a doctoral thesis and presents the results to the public in an oral thesis defense. The knowledge generated is disseminated to the scientific and technological community through the publication of articles in the scientific literature and through presentations at scientific and technological meetings and symposia.

Doctoral students obtain breadth of knowledge through course work, attendance at seminars and participation in undergraduate teaching where applicable. Students take a minimum of 4 half course (8 for students who have not already completed a Master’s degree and entered the program as "Direct Entry" students with a bachelor's degree). Courses in the Department as well as advanced courses in science and/or other engineering disciplines provide a sturdy and vital foundation for research. Students must also pass both a Written Comprehensive Examination covering basic knowledge in fundamental chemical and biochemical engineering concepts and an Oral Comprehensive Examination to ascertain the potential and aptitude of the students for independent PhD quality research.